Easton came to Shrine in 1996, and over the next 17 years he presided over countless weddings, funerals, baptisms and services in his Royal Oak parish.
The church's website reads:
It is with heavy heart that we inform you that Reverend Monsignor William H. Easton passed on to eternal life today, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013.
Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Monsignor Easton and please keep his family in your prayers during this very difficult time.
Before coming to Shrine, Easton was an associate pastor and co-pastor of Royal Oak's St. Mary Catholic Church from 1970 to 1974. He was also a chaplain for the Royal Oak Police Department.
Easton was rushed to Beaumont Hospital on Dec. 20 after suffering a sudden cardiac ailment and subsequent fall, according to the Archdiocese of Detroit website.
'The world lost an angel on earth today'
The community sent its condolences to the Shrine family via Facebook on Sunday evening and also used social media to share photos of the beloved pastor. (See above.)
- Jim Ellison: Very sad news. We offer our condolences to the entire parish and his family.
- Angie Wright Howard: This is awful news. He was such an important part of my family's life. May God bless his soul.
- Jenn Paprocki: Very sorry to hear this. Prayers for the Shrine family.
- Liv Ann Arnold: Prayers for all our friends at Shrine.
- Cathi Ostrander: The world lost an angel on earth today!
- Meg Reutter Bowker: So sad! Too young. Let perpetual light shine upon him.
- Dora Baltrusaitis: So sad. A great shepherd of his flock. May he rest in peace.
- Ryan Rosevear: Such sad news, Monsignor was a big part of what makes living in Royal Oak and being a part of the Shrine family so enjoyable. We are blessed to have had such a man be the leader of our church. May he rest in eternal peace.
- Lynda Hiltz: Monsignor was my greatest comfort in my mother and brother's passing. May Our Lord receive him with great love.
- Rebekah Beauchamp: Father Easton was a great man with a lovely voice. He was there to share in so many sacrament for my children and family, a great man who will be missed by many.
A Rosary prayer service is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. in the church.
"Now more than ever we need to come together as a community to pray in thanksgiving for the amazing life of Monsignor Easton. We need to offer prayers of strength and encouragement to his family. And we need to pray together for our Shrine community," reads the church's website.
Easton will be in state at the National Shrine of the Little Flower (Woodward Ave. and 12 Mile Rd) on Thursday, Jan. 2 from 2 - 10 p.m. Mass of the Resurrection will be on Friday, Jan. 3, at 11:00 am.
Memorial tributes may be made to:
Sacred Heart Major Seminary
2701 Chicago Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48206
American Cancer Society
20450 Civic Center Drive
Southfield, MI 48076
Or to any of the parishes he served, including: